Sound Advice from Mrs. Hawkins
Posted on April 30th, 2011
For years, in times of peril, I have been asking myself “What would Mrs. Hawkins do?” Dame Muriel Spark is one of my favourite authors of all time, and her 1988 novel “A Far Cry from Kensington,” one of my favourite books. Here, I pass on a small portion of the wit and wisdom of the story’s protagonist, Mrs. Hawkins. If you like what you read here, then I recommend you get your own stack of Muriel Spark novels, as they are easily and inexpensively available on-line from used booksellers. Then pour yourself a steaming mug of tea or chocolate, curl up with your favourite cat, and enjoy.
“I offer this advice without fee; it is included in the price of this book.”
Although I was a young woman of twenty-eight I was generally known as Mrs. Hawkins. This seemed so natural to me and was obviously so natural to those around me that I never, at the time, thought of insisting otherwise. I was a war-widow, Mrs. Hawkins. There was something about me, Mrs. Hawkins, that invited confidences. I was abundantly aware of it, and indeed abundance was the impression I gave. I was massive in size, strong-muscled, huge-bosomed, with wide hips, hefty long legs, a bulging belly and fat backside; I carried an ample weight with my five-foot-six of height, and was healthy with it. It was, of course, partly this physical factor that disposed people to confide in me. I looked comfortable.
It is my happy element to judge between right and wrong, regardless of what I might actually do. At the same time, the wreaking of vengeance and imposing of justice on others and myself are not at all in my line. It is enough for me to discriminate mentally and leave the rest to God.
Insomnia is not bad in itself. You can lie awake at night and think; the quality of insomnia depends entirely on what you decide to think of. Can you decide to think? – Yes you can. You can put your mind to anything most of the time.
Who lives without problems every day? Why waste the nights on them?